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Orange Bowl stops yet another long win streak
Posted: Saturday December 05, 1998 11:42 PM
MIAMI (AP) -- It's old. It's decrepit. It has none of the frills or conveniences of modern-day stadiums. Even its namesake game doesn't come around much anymore.
Yet on Saturday, the Orange Bowl once again became the place where long winning streaks come to sudden stops.
No. 3 UCLA's 49-45 loss to Miami marked the fourth time in history that a team has seen a winning streak of at least 20 games end in the venerable old facility.
"You've got to love it," said Edgerrin James, who put the Hurricanes ahead to stay on a 1-yard touchdown run with 50 seconds left, capping a 299-yard, three-TD performance. "We had the crowd into it and everything."
Saturday's frantic finish, with Miami overcoming a 31-17 deficit and a pass by UCLA's Cade McNown landing on the end line as time expired, was only the latest drama to unfold in the shadow of the palms that guard the east end zone.
It was where Doug Flutie secured the 1984 Heisman Trophy, when his 48-yard heave fell into the arms of Gerard Phelan as time expired to give Boston College a 47-45 triumph over the Hurricanes.
What many forget is that just two weeks earlier, Maryland staged what still is the greatest comeback in NCAA history. The Terrapins trailed 31-0 with 12:35 left in the third quarter, then rolled off six TDs for a 42-40 win.
And it was where upstart Miami won its first national title, derailing a 1983 Nebraska team many were hailing as the best ever. The Cornhuskers, with Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier, entered the 1984 Orange Bowl on a 22-game roll. They left 31-30 losers, after Ken Calhoun batted down Turner Gill's two-point conversion pass with 48 seconds left.
That was the first time Miami brought and end to a winning streak of at least 20 games.
The longest was Notre Dame's 23 consecutive wins, which ended November 25, 1989, with a 27-10 Miami victory. Oklahoma's 20-game streak ended at the 1988 Orange Bowl with a 20-14 loss to the Hurricanes.
Miami and Princeton now are the only schools in NCAA history to break winning streaks of 20 or more games on four occasions, and Princeton's all happened before 1906.
The only streak, it seems, to have flourished in the tropics was Miami's 58-game home winning streak from 1985-94, an NCAA record. The Hurricanes beat four No. 1 teams at the Orange Bowl during the streak, including the Notre Dame and Oklahoma wins.
"That's the kind of atmosphere we want to have again," Miami tackle Joaquin Gonzalez said.
Built in 1937, the stadium doesn't get the kind of action it once did. It held five Super Bowls, but none since 1979. The NFL's Miami Dolphins departed more than a decade ago.
The Orange Bowl itself left two years ago, the subject of rancorous debate before television concerns and modern amenities moved the game to Pro Player Stadium. Only a potential conflict with the Dolphins is bringing this season's game back for an encore.
But as many in the crowd of 46,819 stormed the field to celebrate 1998's most thrilling conclusion, it felt like old times again.
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